My current run of enquiries to find lost keys continues…
Nadège contacted me through the local Paihia Facebook group – a visitor of hers had lost keys in a paddock while working the previous day.
These lost keys were critical as they held, amongst others, the keys to his van and lockup.
On arrival, the “Long Grass” turned out to be rank overgrown pasture, and the search area covered an hours-worth of meandering track around the paddock and through two swampy streams.
I prepared myself for a prolonged mentally and physically difficult session.
Bob took me around and showed me where he had walked including where he had deviated to fix various things or pull out weeds. Identifying his original route was very difficult due to his previous attempts to retrace his steps looking for them at the time which gave me several tracks all the same age – and the cows that were also wandering around had added their own tracks, although they were mostly readily identified as such. I did a cursory scan as we walked, finding several piles of old metal stakes, wire, poles and pipes buried in the grass. Farms are almost as bad as suburbia for background noise.
We completed the circuit, and Bob left me to it. As the coil would be 1-2ft above the ground due to the rank growth, I wound the settings right up to maximise the chances of picking up the keys. Whilst this would ensure a strong signal (as long as the coil went over them), it meant the phones were chattering constantly with other background noise from the neighbors electric fences, long lost buried tools, wire, fence staples and so on. Each strong signal had to be checked through the grass, before moving on. Whilst this was quick, it was a very frequent occurrence, however if it wasn’t the intended target, it could stay there, whatever it was. I was on a mission.
Nearly three hours later, with the highest probability areas now cleared to a 90%+ detection rate, I was struggling to work out where they could be – Were they even in the paddock? Could Bob have left them somewhere back at the house?
Bob had walked along the short grass of the mown track each time he’d done the circuit looking for them, and indeed, I had walked it with him today- but a bunch of keys with a red tag would have been easily visible here.
I started back up the hill to focus on a few spots which had a lot of metal rubbish, absent-mindedly swinging the coil over the mown track as I went, when the headphones screamed!
In the middle of the track, was a cow pat with a solid signal! On closer inspection, I could see the blade of a key and the edge of a red plastic tag emerging from underneath. The cow must have dropped the pat on the dropped keys, between Bob losing them, and his coming back this way to look for them!
Hidden, in plain sight.
I dug them out, gave them a quick rinse in a nearby trough and headed back up the hill. Relieved that this search, one of the most difficult in a while, was now over.
Assume Nothing, Check Everything…
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